University Teaching

University Teaching

Lauren often teaches Creative Writing (CENG505) at Ryerson University in Toronto. Her course encourages students to find and use their unique voices, develop a range of writing skills, and read and edit like writers. Week by week, we’ll break the writing process down into manageable parts to help you discover how to write bold and compelling fiction. You’ll complete the course a stronger writer and reader, with a tried and tested writing practice of your own.

The course is interactive at every step of the way,  and includes discussions, mini workshops, and in-class writing, all which contribute towards the goal of creating two finished, edited works – a vignette of 600 words and a short story of 1500 words.

To stretch our imaginations and develop our skills towards this goal, we’ll cover theories of fiction writing (what authors have said about their process and motivation); explore the fundamentals of process (free writing and more); study and apply techniques of the fiction writing craft (including characterization, scene, dialogue); and learn how to polish work through three stages of editing.

We’ll also learn how to read as writers. Through close readings and discussions, we’ll dissect stories and pay careful attention to how they are constructed, considering issues like plot, themes, language, narrative mode, and much, much more.

Finally, throughout the course we’ll read fiction from a range of authors including Lucia Berlin, Raymond Carver, Amy Hempel, Maya Angelou, James Joyce, Anton Chekhov, and Grace Paley. We’ll also read poetry and selections from graphic novels.

Want to see a syllabus? Two are available as downloads to your left. For information on registering, visit the Ryerson University Chang School. To find out what sections Lauren is teaching, contact her here.

  • Lauren’s passion for writing is inspiring! She gave our class a great balance of creative freedom and guidance. This is a class that has allowed me to grow in ways I didn’t expect.

  • This has been the best class I’ve taken at Ryerson in three years. Lauren is passionate, knowledgeable, and witty, a combination that makes me excited to come to class every week.

  • Lauren is perhaps the most enthusiastic and devoted professor I have ever had. This course was a great experience and I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in creative writing.

  • Lauren’s course, hands down, is the best course I’ve taken at Ryerson. I’ve been watching myself improve and learn as a writer. I highly recommend this course to anyone.

  •  We all need honest encouragement and honest critique – Lauren is able to give both without ballooning or shredding the ego. I learned a great deal about the writer's craft from Lauren.

  • Enthusiastic, encouraging and engaging, it has been a delight to go down to Ryerson on Wednesday nights to participate in her class.

Community Arts Education

Community Arts Education

Hailed by The Toronto Star as a groundbreaking program, Sister Writes is now in its seventh year.

Lauren is the Founding Program Director of Sister Writes, Toronto’s first creative writing program for women marginalized by factors such as poverty, underhousing, mental health issues, and social isolation. Taught by professional women writers, and hailed by The Toronto Star as a groundbreaking arts program, Sister Writes offers workshops, mentorship, public arts events, exhibitions, and literary magazines devoted to sharing with the community vital stories about women’s lives.

As an arts educator, Lauren has designed and facilitated over 300 community workshops and worked with writers from age 8 to 93 in schools, hospitals, libraries, activist collectives, long-term care homes, women’s shelters, and in a first nations community. She has presented programming for organizations including Harbourfront Centre, Luminato Festival of Arts + Creativity, and The Toronto Public Library. Her Young Authors Project, a co-creative writing and publishing program for youth, was a finalist for Ontario Government Minister’s Award for Innovation in Arts.

Lauren is especially focused on creating writing programming that breaks down barriers to participation in the arts. She has run a poetry salon for women inpatients at The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, mentored emerging writers through the Diaspora Dialogues Youth Program, and served as Canada Council Writer-in-Residence in a 1902 Carnegie library in southwestern Ontario.

Her Generations of Writers Project was an intergenerational digital oral history program that put seniors and teens into collaboration. Sister Writes on the Road, her newest program, will culminate in an interactive digital exhibition, a literary magazine, and a public oral history archive.

Her programs have won the support of The Toronto Arts Council, The Ontario Council, The Ontario Trillium Foundation, and The Canada Council for the Arts.

For information on community arts workshops, get in touch with Lauren through the contact page.